PUDL ID Mapping

The Status of FERC 1 and EIA IDs

Many of the same utilities are reporting data to FERC and EIA, but there is no official crosswalk file or universal ID to connect the records and obtain information from both sources in one table. The EIA assigns their own IDs to distinguish the utilities and plants that report to them over time. These IDs are useful for parsing EIA data, but they are not connected to utility and plant data reported by FERC. FERC Form 1 uses a respondent ID to keep track of utilities, but it does not have an ID system in place to keep track of unique plants or records over time.

Why is this significant? Without plant IDs, you can’t track plant characteristics over time. Without shared plant IDs, you can’t develop a holistic understanding of individual plants based on the data they report to different entities. Linking the financial information from FERC 1 with the operational data from EIA923 and EIA860 for instance helps us cultivate a more complete picture of the marginal cost of electricity.


To make the data from FERC 1 and EIA more usable and interchangeable, we have developed universal plant_id_pudl and utility_id_pudl values that are the same across datasets. The IDs are assigned via a manual mapping process that is codified in a spreadsheet located at pudl/package_data/glue/pudl_id_mapping.xlsx. This spreadsheet contains all unique plant and utility names reported to FERC and EIA from the oldest to the newest year of data we’ve collected for each data source.

In addition to mapping universal IDs onto plant and utility records, this spreadsheet assigns universal plant and utility names to each record.

The spreadsheet has two tabs, one for mapping utilities and one for mapping plants. We assign plant and utility PUDL IDs to each record first by giving each record a unique ID and then by identifying and fixing records that should share an ID. See below for more detailed instructions.

Plants, as defined by this mapping process, are considered co-located generation assets. Records that have the same plant_id_eia should also have the same plant_id_pudl.


PUDL IDs should never be hard-coded into any analysis or transformation functions as they may come to represent different plants or utilities as new records are added and mapped.

PUDL IDs are not static. They identify unique plants/utilities in a given iteration of the data, but they may not remain exactly the same over time. The spreadsheet assigns PUDL IDs based on a record’s position in the spreadsheet, so if you change the PUDL ID of a record in the middle, it will change the PUDL ID of all those below it (unless they are referencing a PUDL ID that already exists)


No more than one person should ever update the PUDL ID mapping spreadsheet at a time. Two people updating PUDL IDs simultaneously will lead to discrepancies in the PUDL ID values.

The pudl.glue.ferc1_eia module is where most of the spreadsheet coordination happens after the records are manually mapped. It also contains the functions that determine whether plants/utilities have or haven’t been mapped.

Checking for Unmapped Records

With every new year of data comes the possibility of new plants and utilities. Once you’ve integrated the new data into PUDL (see these instructions), you’ll need to check for unmapped utility and plants. To do this, run the find_unmapped_plants_utils.py script. You can add the --help flag for more information. From the top level directory in the PUDL repository:

$ ./devtools/ferc1-eia-glue/find_unmapped_plants_utils.py

This script identifies plants and utilities which exist in the updated FERC 1 and EIA datasets that do not yet appear in pudl_id_mapping.xlsx. The script will output four CSVs in the devtools/ferc1-eia-glue directory that correspond to unmapped plants and utilities from FERC 1 and EIA.

Assigning PUDL IDs to Unmapped Records

Here comes the manually intensive part of the process! Now we must ensure that 1) every record gets assigned a PUDL ID and 2) that records pertaining to the same plant have the same PUDL ID.


The ordering of the rows in the mapping spreadsheet is important. YOU MUST NOT SORT THE PUDL ID MAPPING SPREADSHEET, as it will change the values of many assigned IDs. If you need to view only a subset of the data in the sheet for ease of mapping you can filter it.

Mapping Plants

The unmapped_plants_ferc1/eia.csv files should display basic plant information such as the facility name, utility name, and capacity. We show capacity here so that we can prioritize which plants to map. The larger the capacity, the more important it is to get it mapped. Sort the records by capacity so the highest priority records at the top.

From the FERC and EIA unmapped plants spreadsheets, copy the plant_id_eia (only in EIA), plant_name_ferc1/eia, utility_id_ferc1/eia, and utility_name_ferc1/eia columns and paste them at the bottom of the corresponding columns in the plants tab of the pudl_id_mapping.xlsx spreadsheet. Next drag the auto-incrementing formula in the plant_id_pudl column and the naming formula in the plant_name_pudl column so that all new records are automatically assigned PUDL plant names and unique PUDL IDs. You should also drag the find_plant_id_eia_matches formula down, which we’ll use in the next step.

In previous iterations of the spreadsheet, matching FERC and EIA records were placed in the same row with the FERC version in the FERC columns and the EIA version in the EIA columns. This is not necessary. As long as matching FERC and EIA records (and same-plant records within a data source) have the same PUDL ID in the plant_id_pudl column, you’re good to go!

Linking FERC1-EIA Records

Now that all of the unmapped plants have been added to the spreadsheet and given an ID, we need to check whether they should actually be linked to, and share PUDL IDS with, another record. Because utilities may spell plant names differently year to year (EX: La Cygne and lacygne) or report subcomponents of a single plant (EX: Hancock and Hancock Peaker), it is not uncommon for multiple records to share a PUDL ID. As mentioned above, plants with the same EIA ID should also have the same PUDL ID. The cell formula that assigns PUDL IDs does not account for this, but there is a column, find_plant_id_eia_matches, in the pudl_id_mapping spreadsheet that will look for past instances of the same plant_id_eia. If you haven’t already, drag this formula down so that it checks all the new records. If it finds a match, update the newer record to have the same PUDL ID.


To save time, we’re only linking plants with a capacity of 5 MW or higher. Because you sorted the records by capacity, this should be easy. Just look at the unmapped plants csv for the first plant under 5 MW and everything below that can remain unlinked.

For each new record, search the entire plants_combined tab for a piece of the plant name string (e.g. for chenango solar, you could search for chen, or chenan). Searching the entire plant tab helps find other records within both FERC and EIA that may be the same or part of the same facility. Searching for a piece can help catch misspellings in the plant name, which are more common in the FERC records.

  • If a record has the same plant and utility name as another record:

    assign it the same PUDL ID as the other record by reference to the cell in which the first instance of that PUDL ID appears. Never simply enter the PUDL ID as a number, as it will not update automatically when IDs change due to re-mapping or other alterations. If the new plant name is similar in that it’s a different unit or a part of a facility that uses a different fuel type (e.g. Conemaugh (Steam) and Conemaugh (CT), they should still share the same PUDL ID. That’s because co-located fossil-fueled generators are considered parts of the same plant.

  • If the plant name looks similar but there are discrepancies:

    such as different operators (e.g. a facility keystone with operators baltimore gas and electric and atlantic gas and electric), then it’s best to look at the capacity first to see if the facilities are the same. If that’s indeterminate, you can Google the plant to see if it has the same location or if there is ownership or construction history that helps determine if the facilities are the same or co-located.

  • If co-located EIA plants have distinct plant IDs and no FERC 1 plant:

    they should not be lumped under a single PUDL Plant ID, as that artificially reduces the granularity of data without providing any additional linkage to other datasets.

Mapping Utilities

Both FERC and EIA have utility IDs, so we’re fairly confident that they don’t require intra-dataset mapping. For this reason, we only focus on connecting utilities between datasets.

Linking FERC1-EIA Records

Copy the information output to the unmapped_utils_eia/ferc1.csv files and paste it in the appropriate columns at the bottom of the pudl_id_mapping.xlsx sheet. Note that FERC 1 utility information goes in the left-hand columns and EIA utility information goes in the right-hand columns.

Next, you’ll have to manually assign utility_id_pudl values to each row. There is no formula you can drag down, so just find the largest utility_id_pudl and create new values incrementing from there. To double check whether a utility has already appeared, drag down the formulas in the check_utility_id_ferc1 and check_utility_id_eia columns. If there’s a match, the correct utility_id_pudl will show up in the column, and you can create a reference to the original utility_id_pudl assignment above.

Make sure to save the file when you’re done!

Testing Newly Mapped Records

Before you integrate these newly mapped records into the PUDL database, you’ll want to run some basic tests in the command line to make sure you’ve covered all of the unmapped entities. This command assumes that you have all of the new EIA data loaded into your live PUDL DB, and all of the new FERC 1 data loaded into your cloned FERC 1 DB:

$ pytest --live-dbs test/integration/glue_test.py

Integrating Newly Mapped Records into PUDL

Once you’ve successfully mapped all unmapped PUDL IDs, you’ll want to rerun the ETL! This ensures that the newly mapped IDs get integrated into the PUDL database and output tables that folks are using. Make sure to tell everyone else to do so as well so that you can all use the newly mapped PUDL IDs.